BSF Executive Meeting Report: 13 September 2018

Tue 18 Sep 2018

The BSF Executive held its latest monthly conference call meeting on the evening of Thursday 13 September.  Below is a journalistic report on the main discussions and decisions.


Present:  Jenny Fromer (President), Stella Ackrell (Administrator), Laura Burkhardt (Treasurer), Liz Graham (Competitions Director), Mike Jennings (General Officer).

Apologies:  Jana McCaskill (National Teams Officer), Steve Getraer (General Officer), Chris Moon (BASU Representative).

Guest:  Bob Fromer (BSUK).

Financial matters

The Executive approved a BSF Development Grant for the Milton Keynes Softball League, which had submitted a detailed and comprehensive proposal to expand its adult slowpitch league and start a junior programme in 2019 as well as train more coaches.

A grant was also approved to help with flight costs for BASU umpire Pete Saunders, who has been selected to officiate at the 2018 WBSC Slowpitch World Cup in Plant City, Florida.  While food and accommodation costs for umpires at the tournament are covered by the WBSC, travel to the competition is the responsibility of the individual umpire or their Federation.  The BSF intends to have a discussion with the BASU Committee to see if such costs can be shared between the two organisations in future.

Finally, the Executive agreed that a new national team created this year, the GB Men’s Slowpitch Team, should be a beneficiary of the National Teams Levy (NTL).  The NTL is a fund created by ringfencing £10 from the affiliation fee paid by each BSF member team, and is used to award £500 to national teams in a year in which they have an official ESF or WBSC competition.  The one exception is the GB Co-ed Slowpitch Team, which receives £1000 from the NTL every year.

Tournaments and National Championships

The Executive conducted a brief review of the recent NSL National Championship weekend, though a more comprehensive discussion will take place at the Executive’s annual face-to-face meeting, scheduled for the weekend of 13-14 October.  Jenny Fromer, Lesley Morisetti and Liz Graham have also provided feedback to BaseballSoftballUK on the services they provided for the tournament.  The interim conclusion is that the event represented a step up from previous Nationals for a number of reasons, including better preparation and maintenance of fields and the fact that three games from the final stages were webstreamed.  Future webstreaming plans and possibilities will be discussed at the face-to-face meeting.  There were 889 viewers for the NSL 1 final and 965 viewers for the NSL 2 final.

The possibility of the BSF bidding to host the 2019 European Co-ed Slowpitch Championship at Farnham Park was discussed.  BaseballSoftballUK is keen to host international tournaments at the venue and would be prepared to underwrite part of the costs, but this would still leave a substantial sum for the BSF to find or raise.  There are also issues around the logistics of hosting the tournament at Farnham Park and finding sufficient volunteers.  The Executive will discuss the matter further at its face-to-face meeting, but any bid would need to be submitted to the ESF by November of this year, which doesn’t leave much time.  The BSF may decide to look at bidding to host either the European Men’s Slowpitch Championship or European Co-ed Slowpitch Super Cup in 2020 or the 2021 European Co-ed Slowpitch Championship.

BSF Competitions Director Liz Graham is stepping down as the main organiser for the BSF’s Single-Sex Nationals and Co-ed Slowpitch League Nationals, though she will continue to organise NSL league play and the NSL Nationals, as well as acting as the BSF’s de facto Membership Officer.  The BSF will shortly publish a list of roles and tasks with which it needs help, either through people joining the Executive or simply taking on specific jobs or projects.  BSF President Jenny Fromer said, “We simply need more people doing more things,” and without more volunteers coming forward, it is possible that some BSF events may not happen in future.

At the recent NSL Nationals on 1-2 September, the first-ever NSL 3 Nationals was added to the programme, using two grass pitches hired from the cricket club at Farnham Park.  Negotiations are currently under way with the cricket club and South Bucks District Council to see if these pitches can be made available for the NSL Nationals again in 2019.

National Teams

The GB Men’s Fastpitch Team finished fourth in this summer’s European Men’s Championship, just below the qualifying places for the 2019 WBSC Men’s World Championship, which will be played on European soil for the first time, in Prague.  The team has written to the WBSC requesting a wild card place should one become available, and the request will be supported by the European Softball Federation as well as the BSF.  However, the final decision will be made by the WBSC.

The GB Management Committee (GBMC) will have a busy month in October, with three key meetings planned.  On Friday 5 October, members of the GBMC will meet with Head Coaches from all of the GB female fastpitch teams except the GB Under-13s to put together an integrated plan for training and competition in 2019, a year which will end with the Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier next September.  On 20 October, the GBMC will hold its annual face-to-face meeting with staff from all GB National Teams, during which de-briefs on this year’s tours will be carried out.  Finally, on 27 October, the GBMC will hold its own annual face-to-face meeting.  The number of people on the GBMC has decreased over this year, and the Committee is looking for new members.

The BSF has agreed to submit two motions to the 2019 European Softball Federation Congress.  The first will call for the ESF to end the practice of using a random draw to assign teams to first-round pool groups at the larger European Championships.  The BSF believes that this practice distorts the seedings that countries have earned the last time the competition was held.  The second motion will call for the ESF to restore Page Playoffs as the final round in its Championship events.  Currently, following WBSC practice, some Championships simply end with bronze and gold medal games following playoff rounds, which results in an earlier reduction in the number of teams with a chance to win the gold medal.

Face-to-face meeting

As noted above, the BSF Executive will hold its annual face-to-face meeting on the weekend of 13-14 October.  Some of the agenda items already scheduled for the meeting include:

  • Restructuring and simplifying BSF team affiliation fees.
  • Review of BSF National Championships.
  • Proposal for a future NSL 3 league.
  • Potential bids to host European Championship or Cup competitions.
  • Roles and responsibilities for Executive members and volunteers.
  • National teams review.
  • Upgrading the BSF website.
  • Future webstreaming plans.
  • End-of-year finances and budget proposal for 2018-19.
  • Topics for the League Heads Forum in November.

BSUK Board and Subcommittees

Reports from BaseballSoftballUK Board and Subcommittee meetings attended by BSF representatives are a standing item at BSF Executive meetings.

On this occasion, the only BSUK Subcommittee meeting since the BSF Executive last met was the Development Subcommittee (DSC), and no BSF representative was able to attend.  The BSF will be looking for someone outside the Executive to sit on the DSC on its behalf.

The Baseb\allSoftballUK Board is meeting on 7 October, and Jenny Fromer will report to the Executive on this meeting at the BSF’s face-to-face meeting on the following weekend.

Upcoming meetings

The next BSF Executive meeting will be its annual weekend face-to-face meeting, scheduled for 13-14 October.  Anyone with items to bring to the meeting should contact BSF Administrator Stella Ackrell (

The BSF has also set a date for its annual League Heads Forum, where members of the Executive meet with league heads from around the country.  This meeting will be held on Saturday 10 November, probably in Birmingham (venue to be confirmed).

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